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Copyright Hull Geological Society.

(updated 13th December 2021)

Covid has not gone away. The Committee has decided not to restart indoor meetings in the early months of 2022. We hope that it will be safe to do so in March, starting with the Annual General Meeting.

Wednesday 8th December – lecture on Zoom by John Connor -   “Mud Volcanoes of the South Caspian Sea”


Abstract –

This talk was first given to the Bay Area Geophysical Society, so you can expect to see some seismic sections, and even a few equations, in the process of interpreting the seabed geology.

From the Oil & Gas Industries’ viewpoint, a mud volcano located on or near an oil or gas field that is in the process of being developed is categorized as a Geohazard – that’s to say, a geological, geomorphological or environmental feature, on or near the seabed, that could seriously disrupt the engineering work required for the installation of offshore development platforms and the associated sub-sea equipment needed to safely extract the oil and/or gas.

In the South Caspian Sea there are several such mud volcanoes, which have indeed required the operators of the fields to identify them, and to avoid positioning their offshore equipment on or near them. This talk will show how geophysics can be used to identify areas of the seabed and near subsurface where geohazards are present – it will focus on a particularly big mud volcano called Absheron.


Thursday 2nd December, 2021, 19:30 Zoom meeting -  Dr Sam Griffirths : Geology and Humans: Chalk and cheese or intertwined….

Abstract - Yorkshire has a rich and fascinating geological history… but what about geo-archaeology? Join us at the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN) to discuss our local prehistory and explore the deep connections to the geology and sea. From Early Humans to Bronze Age trackways we have an equally rich record of heritage just waiting to be discovered.

  Dr Sam Griffiths works for MOLA – the Museum of London Archaeology practice. He was the Discovery Programme Officer and lead archaeologist on the CITiZAN project in the Humberside   has a wealth of experience on multi-period archaeological sites across the UK and Europe.  


The Committee has co-opted Peter Carpenter into the role of Membership Secretary. Members addresses, e-mail addresses and subscription history (but not bank details) will be shared with Peter. You can contact Peter by using this e-mail address :

HGS Membership Secretary

Middlegate Quarry, South Ferriby

Wednesday 2nd June 2021 - evening zoom talk - Paul Hildreth on "The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful (an overview of the history, importance and future of Middlegate Quarry, South Ferriby)"

abstract -  Middlegate Quarry was opened to supply the local works, established in 1938, with chalk, one of the raw materials required for making cement. Clay, the other ingredient, was initially taken from local till and alluvial deposits. A well-known and well-respected member of the Hull Geological Society was responsible, at least in part, for the suggestion of deepening the quarry to exploit an alternative source of clay when the original became exhausted and its extraction threatened to de-stabilise the Humber bank defences. Thus a gem of a geological site was created, a magnet for Mesozoic research and a treasure trove of late Jurassic vertebrates and invertebrates, particularly ammonites. Sadly, the cement works ceased production in early 2020.  The quarry has become redundant and this has led to significant consequences for geologists. But not all is lost! This talk presents a short history of the site, the reasons for its geological importance and, though it may never recover its former glory, a report of what remains and a possible future.

Barrie Heaton and the HGS 2019

Barrie Heaton at the HGS fieldtrip to Newbald in 2019

Barrie Heaton

It is with sadness that I have to inform you that Barrie Heaton passed away on May 14th 2021. Barrie joined the Hull Geological Society in 1995 and was an active member until recently. He was our Treasurer from 2002 to 2010, Vice President from 2010 to 2012 and President from 2012 to 2015. Barrie was elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Society in 2017.

Wednesday 12th May 2021 – Zoom talk John Connor, retired geophysicist – Chevron Corporation, California. Born & grew up off Beverley Road in Hull – School was Marist College

“The Use of Geophysics in Marine Archaeology”

Geophysics in Marine Archaeology

Abstract –

The first thing I should say is that I’m not an archaeologist. The idea for this talk came about when I was browsing the internet for information about existing high-resolution seismic data off the Holderness Coast. This search led me to an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Hornsea Three Wind Farm, which is expected to begin construction in 2023.

Before construction work starts, as part of the EIA, various geotechnical and geophysical surveys are required by the UK Government to be run, reported on in detail, and published for public review and comment. The geophysics in talk is about the offshore side-scan sonar, magnetic and seismic surveys and the results from these surveys, as published in the EIA.  There will also be some background data on Doggerland, the timing of sea-level rises in the North Sea, the consequent Holocene sediment deposition, & importantly, whether some of our ancestors lived out there.

Graham Kings and the Bisat Group

At the Bisat Research Group field meeting at Mappleton on 16th April the Secretary presented the 2021 Felix Whitham Memorial Medal to Graham Kings (on the right). Graham was awarded the medal “for leading the Bisat groups mammoth exercise of the photography of the glacial sediments of the entire Holderness cliffs (2014-2019). Curating and safeguarding the photo archive. And beginning the detailed stratigraphic logging of new and important sections in the cliffs.” Also in the picture are Dennis (on the left) and Arthur from the Group.


.Yorkshire Type Erratics

Thursday 8th April -  Zoom lecture meeting - Mike Horne on "the Type Erratics collection"

Abstract – Geologists have been studying the glacial erratics of Holderness and the surrounding areas for about 150 years; is it now time to agree definitions of these and work to the same standard? In this talk Mike will discuss some of the problems and describes his plan to create a “type collection” at the University of Hull.

The Secretary's Report for 2020-2021 is now available on our website


San Andreas Fault

Wednesday 27th January - Zoom Talk - John Connor on Geomorphological Aspects of the San Andreas Fault

Abstract -

The geology of the San Francisco Bay Area is complicated, to say the least. There are two main reasons for this – first, and more important structurally, is the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the North American Plate, from roughly 30 to 20 million years ago, though there’s a section to the north, off the Oregon & Washington State coastlines, which is still subducting.

Rocks subject to this subduction from the Pacific oceanic crust have been crumpled into an “accretionary wedge”, forming several small but very varied lithologic “terranes”, which stack up across a roughly 30 mile west-to-east zone comprising the San Francisco Bay Area.

This zone is demarked on the east by the Hayward Fault and on the west, roughly parallel to the coast, by the San Andreas Fault Zone. Between them, these two right-lateral strike slip faults are responsible for moving rocks northwards, perhaps up to 200 miles from Southern California to the Bay Area. The San Andreas Fault is the prime culprit and also the second reason for the complicated geology of the area.

This talk will start by describing the structural setting, followed by photos of local outcrops of some of the terranes. Repeated earthquake movement on the San Andreas Transform Fault over the past few million years has produced an elongate “valley”, onshore & offshore. The remainder of the talk will be a photo tour, from north to south, looking at 6 locations which, although all valleys of a sort, are geomorphologically different.

Neanderthals in suits

Wednesday 4th February 2021 - Zoom Lecture - Professor Patrick Boylan, School of Arts and Social Sciences, City, University of London on "New light on the Neanderthals: music, rope-making. and now an apparent genetic link to Coronavirus"

Abstract -

The Middle and Upper Pleistocene Neaderthals have generally had a bad press through more than a century and a half. Until comparatively recently Neanderthals were widely regarded and caricatured as primitive, clumsy and probably brutal, creatures. Knowledge, and more important, attitudes have changed remarkably in the last 20 years or so, through many additional discoveries and new interpretations of this hominin species. We now know that Neaderthals were dominant across most of Europe and beyond from around 400,00 to 40,000 years ago, with significant populations stretching from the Mediterranean and beyond out into what is now known as “Doggerland” – the vast area of land under what is now the North Sea, while DNA studies show that Neanderthal genes survive in many present-day populations.

More and more is also being discovered about the culture and traditions of these populations.  I was able to help in a minor way with one of the most remarkable indications of Neanderthal flute made out of the thigh bone of a young Cave Bear. To most people’s astonishment the holes drilled through the bone were in exactly the same relative positions as in a modern instrument, and would have played the musical notes of the modern diatonic (Do, Re, Mi) musical scale. Also, recent work in Gibraltar and elsewhere has found evidence of both art and personal adornment with feathers.

In March 2020 an equally significant technological discovery was made in France during excavations of Neanderthal levels within the Abri du Maras Cave located in the Ardèche valley, a tributary of the River Rhône. Due to preservation conditions organic remains other that bones and teeth are generally very extremely rare. However, one of the stone flakes, 60mm long, was found to have a tiny fragment of 3-ply cord adhering to the stone tool. On microscopic examination the cord consists of fibres derived from the inner bark of gymnosperm plants or trees, most likely conifers.

This was not just the only startling Neanderthal discovery announced in 2020. Medical reports of investigations into possible genetic risk factors for COVID-19 published in September and October 2020 show that a Neanderthal derived gene cluster on chromosome 3 is linked to respiratory failure in severe COVID-19 infections. 

There is clearly very much more to learn about the Neanderthals more than 30,000 years after they finally became extinct.


We held one geology walk for the Festival of Geology in November 2020 following the Government's Covid Guidelines - one leader and one person from a different household. Mike led Bryony on a guided walk of Hull's General Cemetery. The walk around the city centre was cancelled.

Festival of Geology 2020

Festival of Geology walk (photographed from a distance).

Due to the second Covid Pandemic Lockdown in November 2020 our planned field meetings have been cancelled by the leaders.

The HGS Committee has decided to waive the annual subscription for 2021 for members who have paid their subs for 2020, because we have not been able to provide the full Summer and Winter Programmes due to the Pandemic. Our running costs have not been reduced substantially so donations would be most welcome!

The HGS Committee has introduced extra Risk Assesments for meetings held during the Covid Pandemic, with effect from 26th August 2020 .

The Yorkshire Geological Society is publishing a series of virtual field trips and guides that you can download. The series includes a guide to the cliffs at Bempton and a self guided tour of Hull's Western Cemetery,

Changes to our Data Protection Policy and Procedure - In light of the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown the Committee has made changes to the Data Protection Policy and Procedure. To avoid a ‘single point of failure’ your personal data will be shared between the Officers of the Society who are expected to keep to the terms and spirit of the Procedure. Officers may share you data with the emergency services if they think your health and welfare is at risk. Leaders and organiser of Society events may collect and keep a paper record of the people attending the event for a specified period at times of a health pandemic. Please see the HGS website for the full details or request a printed copy.

June 2020 - The Committee had decided that we would not hold any further field meetings until we knew whether the public liability insurance is still valid during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Geologists' Association (who arrange the insurance) has informed us that we can go ahead with meetings as long as we follow UK Givernment guidleines. It is likely that booking will be required for these meetings to comply with the guidance on the number of people attending.  

We are so sorry that we have had to cancel or postpone events because of the Covid pandemic. The Committee had a virtual meeting in May 2020 and decided that we should wait until the University of Hull provides definite dates for re-opening for lectures (rather than on-line teaching) before we finalise plans for our Winter Programme. Our Roadshows have been cancelled because the venues have been closed. Social distancing has meant that people have not booked for the field meetings. One Yorkshire Geology Month event was held in May with just two people (following Governement guidelines) to ensure continuity of the YGM since it was started in 2005 by Mike Horne and the HGS.

Yorkshire Geology Month 2020

Mike Horne leads the Yorkshire Geology Month

walk in Western Cemetery (Hull) in May 2020

20th March 2020 - we have created a Facebook Club Page so that members can take part in virtual Club Nights. Members who have paid their annual subscription can join: visit  or look search Facebook for "Hull Geological Society club page"

At the AGM on 12th March 2020 there was a discussion about whether to cancel meetings due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. It was decided that members could be trusted use their common sense about attending meetings and protecting their health. The field meetings would not be cancelled. The Roadshows and Club Nights might be affected if the hosts decided to close their premises. We will use water to dampen specimens to aid identification rather than spit on them this year, wash our hands more frequently and try to avoid shaking hands.

Richard Forrest at the AGM

Richard Forrest speaking after the 2020 AGM

Five new articles have been added to the Humberside Geologist Online website recently for volume 16 of our journal.

Abstracts from the 2020 Members' Evening

Abstract - The Lewis Penny Collection at Hull University by Mike Horne

The collection consists of Holderness erratics (some with thin sections), sub-fossils shells from Holderness, specimens from source areas and some archives. It was collected by Lewis Penny, John Catt, and Patrick Boylan. It was catalogued and dusted by Mike Horne, Rodger Connell in 2010 and 2012 and details were added to the University's electronic catalogue in 2019. We hope to make the catalogue available on our web pages to encourage other researchers to us the collection.

Abstract - Yorkshire Type Erratics by Mike Horne.

The members of the Hull Geological Society have been studying erratics since 1892 and the East Riding Boulder Committee was revived in 1987. Reports have been published in Transactions of the Hull Geological Society,  Humberside Geologist and the Ice Age Coast website. However have the rock types ever been defined? Is the "Norwegian Syanite" the same as Larvikite? Can we tell the difference between Grey Flint and Rhaxella Chert? I would suggest that it is time to create a type collection to define the erratics.

Abstract - Towards a practical stratigraphy for the Yorkshire Chalk by Mike Horne.

The Hull Geological Society started its Centenary Chalk Project in 1984. It became clear that there were problems with the biostratigraphy; some of the zone fossils are rare, some are hard to identify and none of the zones had been defined using scientific criteria of "first appearances". The "Lower Chalk" (to use an old term) shows considerable variation in the region. The "Middle Chalk" has a consistent lithostratigraphy. The "Upper Chalk" (Flamborough Formation) is only really accessible on the coast and the lithostratigraphy is difficult to follow in the field. Is it not time to merge the stratigaphies to create something that is of practical use in the field?

Thursday 14th November 2019 - (evening lecture) - Chris Darmon (of GeoSupplies) on "The Geology of Southern Norway"

 Abstract – “For more than 25 years Chris Darmon has been leading people on geology trips to Iceland, but he ran his last such trip in 2017 frustrated by sky high prices and perceived poor value of hotels. But how do you follow Iceland? Where else could offer a unique geological experience that was not to far away? The answer came following a personal holiday in 2017 and it was Norway. Thanks to a partnership with geopark Geonorvegia a nine-night itinerary was assembled that saw people arriving at Bergen and departing from Oslo. The first group of 39 people made the trip in April 2018. This talk takes you on that tour, taking in the thrust slices of Bergen and the fjords of Flam, not to mention the steepest adhesion-worked railway in Europe. Along the way you will see the view from the top of the funicular in Bergan and experience the anorthosites around Flam. After a day long journey across the roof of Norway by train, we arrive at the Geonorvegia geopark explored from our base in Skien. Over four days you will see the Precambrian metamorphic basement, a late Proterozoic carbonatite volcano, Lower Palaeozoic sediments and the Carboniferous igneous rocks of the Oslo Rift. The latter include the famous Larvikite, so well know to us in the UK. To finish the story we will explore something of the Quaternary and its glacial sediments and landforms. In his unique style Chris will tell you something about each of these topics as they crop up along the way. “

Thursday October 24th 2019 - (evening lecture) - Laura Eddey on "A Reevaluation of Lake Pickering, North Yorkshire".

Laura Eddey

Abstract –

During the Quaternary, repeated glacial cycles left widespread deposits across Britain. These deposits hold an archive of terrestrial responses to changes in climate over the last 2.6 Ma. One such archive is the Vale of Pickering in North Yorkshire: A low-lying depression bounded on all sides save the east end by large hills comprised of Jurassic and Cretaceous bedrock. During the Late Quaternary, this natural basin was blocked by ice sheets forming large proglacial lakes. To understand the advance and retreat of the surrounding ice lobes in the Vale of York to the west and the North Sea Lobe to the east – the deposits of the Vale of Pickering are crucial; however, limited work in the area has failed to ascertain an accurate history of Lake Pickering. Using newly available high-resolution LiDAR data, field observations, historic borehole records, and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, a new chronological model for Lake Pickering has been established. This shows that 1) previously estimated lake levels are too high and that during the LGM, Lake Pickering was no more than 33 m O.D. 2) Ice invaded the eastern coast of the Vale of Pickering on more than one occasion, potentially earlier than the LGM. 3) Several iterations of Lake Pickering exist with a lake during the LGM, but at least one older than 30 ka. 4) The drainage of Lake Pickering is very complex and seaward drainage likely prevailed until the eastern end became blocked by continued deposition of glacial material. This reversed the drainage through the Kirkham Gorge. 5) The use of newer geoscientific techniques like OSL and LiDAR mapping are crucial to the understanding of the palaeoenvironment of the Vale of Pickering and the continued development of these techniques are vital to further work.

In the Summer of 2019 the Yorkshire Geological Society published in its Proceedings a series of papers about the Chalk of the "Northern Province" generated by the Symposium held in Hull at the suggestion of Mike Horne. The original proposal was to discuss and resolve problems with Chalk biostratigraphy and although the agenda for the meeting  drifted in other directions the publication is quite an achievement. You can view the contents and abstracts by following this link

There were 17 events in the programme for Yorkshire Geology Month 2019, organised by Paul Hildreth and the Yorkshire Geological Society. It is good to see that Yorkshire Geology Month is still running; it was started in 2005 by members of the HGS (click here for a report of the first year).

Ian Heppenstall died of a heart attack on 9th March 2019, aged 72. His funeral was in the small chapel at Chanterlands Avenue Crematorium at 1pm on Monday 25th March. A collection was made for Parkinson’s Disease.

Lewis Rose

Whitham Medal 2019

The Felix Whitham Memorial Medal is awarded to Lewis Rose for his contribution to the understanding of local geology through the new Geology displays at Hornsea Museum. The medal is awarded “for contributions to new research into the geology of eastern Yorkshire or northern Lincolnshire, or it may be awarded for active contributions to geological outreach projects in the Hull area…."

Thursday 28th March 2019 - Dr Lyndsey Fox of Hull University on "Illuminating Anthropogenic climate change with 150 years of ocean science"

Abstract -

"Modern oceanography began with the HMS Challenger expedition from 1872 to 1876. This historic voyage was the first to specifically gather data on a wide range of ocean features, including ocean temperatures, seawater chemistry, currents, marine life and the geology of the sea floor. With the 150th anniversary of this momentous voyage fast approaching (2022), I aim to take the historical endeavours of this seminal expedition and combine them with 21st century cutting-edge science to tackle some of the most urgent questions of our time with regards to anthropogenic environmental change. The vast quantities of Challenger plankton tow material housed in the Natural History museum collections offers a singular opportunity to spotlight one of our most pressing environmental issues: ocean acidification (OA).

"Both measured and projected changes in seawater chemistry have potentially catastrophic biotic effects as OA hinders biogenic carbonate production, leading to substantial changes in marine ecosystems. Current attempts to address this issue via laboratory based studies have serious limitations, which can only be overcome by comparing newly discovered plankton tows from the historic HMS Challenger expedition (1872-1876) with the ground-breaking TARA expeditions (2009-2016). 

"Here we discuss the untapped potential of historical collections for gaining new insights into the sensitivity of the global climate system to CO2 forcing, as we present new data gathered over the past 12 months from two test sites in the tropical Pacific Ocean. These data revealed, without exception, that of the 24 specimens analysed through nanno-CT scanning; all modern foraminifera showed significantly thinner shells compared to their preindustrial counterparts (Figs. 1-3). Open ocean studies, such as this, are urgently needed to understand the impact of multi-stressor environments on shell parameters of multiple species, and reveal the magnitude of OA across the globe."

Thursday 21st March 2019 - Evening Lecture - Prof David Bond of Hull University on "When life nearly died - new perspectives on the Permian-Triassic mass extinction" and "Ediacaran-like textured organic surfaces: microbial mats thrived after the Permian-Triassic mass extinction" with displays.

David Bond

Abstracts -

"When life nearly died - new perspectives on the Permian-Triassic mass extinction"

At the end of the Permian, 252 million years (Myr) ago, Earth suffered its greatest ever crisis during which around 90% of living species were wiped out. Almost every group was affected, on land, and in the oceans, and it is the only mass extinction of insects. This truly was "the day the Earth nearly died" (although it lasted significantly longer than a day!). This was an event so catastrophic that it wiped the evolutionary slate clean, ultimately paving the way for the rise of the dinosaurs (and then, of course, humans). But what could possibly have caused such a disaster?


Despite controversy over the timing of losses, radio-isotopic dating indicates that extensive damage was done to both terrestrial and marine ecosystems in a very brief interval around the end of the period. The focus now is on understanding the role of the proposed kill mechanisms, including (in no particular order): global warming, ocean anoxia (deoxygenation) and acidification, volcanic winter, hypercapnia (CO2 poisoning), aridity on land, increased sediment flux to the oceans, ozone destruction and resultant harmful ultraviolet-B radiation, acid rain, atmospheric oxygen depletion, and poisoning by toxic trace metals. Each has probable origins in Siberian Traps volcanism, in particular the vast volumes of gases (e.g. CO2) that must have been released. The latest work is beginning to reveal the likeliest culprits: extreme global warming and its knock-on effects, perhaps coupled with an acidification crisis in the oceans.

"Ediacaran-like textured organic surfaces: microbial mats thrived after the Permian-Triassic mass extinction"

Lower Triassic marine strata of the Sverdrup Basin (Arctic Canada) include a thick succession of sandy and silty facies that record life in the aftermath of the end Permian mass extinction. Proxies for oxygenation (trace metals, pyrite framboids) suggest that dysoxic conditions prevailed in the Basin for much of the Early Triassic. This suppressed bioturbation and allowed the frequent development of microbially-induced sedimentary structures (MISS), including wrinkle structures, Kinneyia and bubble texture. The microbial mats responsible for these structures are envisaged to have thrived, in dysoxic settings, within the photic zone, on fine sand substrates. The dysoxic history was punctuated by better-oxygenated phases, which coincide with the loss of MISS. Thus, Permo-Triassic boundary and Griesbachian mudrocks from the deepest-water settings have common benthos and a well-developed, tiered burrow profile dominated by Phycosiphon. MISS are also lacking from Skolithos-burrowed, nearshore sandstones that developed during basin-wide oxygenation in the late Dienerian. Intervals of the intense burrowing in the earliest Triassic contradicts the notion that bioturbation was severely suppressed at this time due to extinction losses at the end of the Permian.


Thursday 21st February 2019  - Evening Lecture  - Prof Chris Clark of Sheffield University on the "Retreat of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet "

Abstract –

We have known for a long time that a kilometres-thick ice sheet largely covered Britain and Ireland during the last glacial, peaking at around 27,000 years ago. Most evidence for its geometry arises from tens of thousands of geological and geomorphological observations, but almost wholly restricted to land. The earliest researchers (e.g. Geike 1867) were happy to use simple glaciological logic (presumed ice sheet symmetry) to reconstruct ice margins that reached far offshore and to the continental shelf edge. Such views were rejected by more conservative and evidence-based approaches that followed, leading to reconstructions of a mostly terrestrially-restricted ice sheet. Numerical ice sheet models of the time did what they were told regarding ice limits. Over the last decade the focus of investigation has moved offshore, enabled by new high resolution bathymetric and shallow seismic data, and leading to a ‘gold-rush’ of discoveries that have transformed our understanding. The continental shelf has abundant evidence of grounded ice cover.


The BRITICE-CHRONO consortium of researchers has been a six year project to constrain the timing of retreat of the British-Irish Ice Sheet by a systematic dating programme focussed on the marine-to-terrestrial transition. From two research cruises some 18,000 km of geophysical data and 377 vibro- and piston cores, along with many stratigraphic sections on land have been used to provide material for dating. The aims and objectives of the project and progress thus far will be reported along with some highlights from the various transects under investigation. The new BRITICE Glacial map of Britain and Ireland will be shown which contains some 170,000 glacial landforms.


A unique piece of geo-art is for sale. For the "On the Endless Here" collaboration between local artists and members of the Society, Anna Kirk-Smith created a piece called “With a Learner’s Faith”. Anna is now moving to a smaller studio in Bridlington and would like to sell the work to a interested geologist rather than auction it. If you would like to make an offer please email the HGS Secretary.

“With a Learner’s Faith”

Anna describes the work -

This painting / construct was part of the On the Endless Here show;  the accompanying description is below. It is on MDF / wooden frame with a painted/drawn surface and 3D objects/fossils. It is quite large - approx. A1 in size.

This once was how the George Lamplugh described his approach to his studies of the Pleistocene tills and fossils at Bridlington Crag, including Danes Dyke, South Landing and Sewerby, my initial stomping grounds. He began his field observations in 1878, at the tender age of 19 years and was a descriptive genius. I put my “learners faith” (utterly devoid of genius) in the Hull Geological Society and began the exploratory field trips with the members to the headland (sagely noting the white stone,  and overlying brown ooze), beyond that observation in these initial days they could have been talking a foreign language. My early field book notes consist of a list of geological jargon with question marks beside them (for later looking-up in a dictionary), and copied (thankfully idiot-proof) diagrams that Mike Horne drew in the sand with his umbrella to explain the surroundings. Initially it didn’t help that this was a questionable landscape – I was trying to comprehend the unknown, the hypothesized, about a terrain that just kept throwing geological curveballs. However once I had settled into the frame of mind that 2+2 might equal 4, 5 or indeed any other random integer potentially proven or disproven by sampling; I became less worried by predetermined fact and more intent upon potential areas of enquiry.

After 2 years of field visits, gone to me  is the visually nice white chalk topped with that ooze of brown mud; and an appreciation has appeared of forensic searching for biostratigraphical fossils, posing reasons for folding and faulting, descriptions of marl content, determining the age and colour of till samples, magnifying grains of sand to distinguish the processes they have undergone, pondering the far flung origins of glacial erratics and weaving predictions around the size, sorting, orientation, shape and turbation of chalk clasts. Within these lay the foundation for the headland’s narrative probability.

So this particular artwork sprang from that empathy with Lamplugh’s initial search of an unexplored, misunderstood terrain. He possessed far more knowledge than I when he studied the headland, so as a complete initiate, I have in the artwork reverted to a primary Victorian method of learning: the ABC, and added a flavour of my research, queries, field notes and visual perceptions I had to forage for in order to try and understand some of the geological riddle of Flamborough."

Click here for the On the Endless Here Facebook page. There is also an OTEH website projects page on


Thursday 17th January 2019 - Evening lecture - Dr. Michael Oates on "Exploring Morocco's Palaeontological Riches".

Michael Oates

The speaker on a heavily dug hillside of Devonian mudstone near Tazoulait

Abstract - The southeastern part of Morocco lies within the limits of the Sahara Desert and is an arid desolate, scarcely inhabited environment, with an undulating eroded basement of folded Palaeozoic sediments beneath an unconformable cover of horizontal Cretaceous deposits.  The common theme to all these sediments is that they have suffered relatively little structural or thermal modification and are very fossiliferous.  An overland expedition in early 2018 examined the geology in three areas of southeast Morocco, near Taouz, Alnif and Goulmima, which is just at the margin of the Atlas mountains.  Because the African continent has remained fairly stable throughout Phanerozoic time, there has been less burial than might be expected, and the preservation of the fossils is correspondingly excellent.  Expect to hear about Ordovician trilobites in abundance, a surprise Silurian limestone with 3D graptolites, Devonian shelf faunas and Upper Cretaceous freshwater to marine fossils, and how they are found.  Without the restrictions of a 20kg airline baggage allowance, as many specimens as I can carry will be available to view on the night.

ammonite miners

Ammonite, Fish and Reptile miners of Asfla



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